“This album is an open diary of someone in their early twenties,” Nina Nesbitt tells Apple Music. It’s been five years since her folk-pop debut Peroxide (inspired by her on-off relationship with a certain Ed Sheeran), leaving the Edinburgh singer-songwriter a lot of time to reflect. “I wrote a lot of the first album when I was 17, 18 and I didn’t really know who I was or what my sound was or what I wanted,” she says. “I think you can hear that in that album—not in a bad way—but it just represented where I was. I really wanted to make an album with a cohesive sound to it.” This is a follow-up dripping with lush vocals and synth textures across songs on self-discovery (“The Moments I’m Missing”) to sassy odes to singledom (“Somebody Special”).
“In a lot of the songs on the first album, I’m a victim,” she says. “Whereas in this album I wanted to take control and give my music an empowering feel to it.” Part of that empowerment was taking a step back from writing about love. “I often hear songs just about relationships, and that’s cool, but I want to cover a lot of different subjects,” she says. Her own aspirations take center stage on standout “Empire.” “It’s a song about taking control of your own career and your own path,” she says. “Which is something obviously I did—being dropped from a major label, having to work my way back in the music industry and get signed again.”
There’s a rawness to Nesbitt’s vocals here that adds to the album’s intimate, confessional style. Alanis Morissette, she admits, is “someone that has influenced my storytelling.” So much so that the breathless “The Best You Had” is her own tribute to “You Oughta Know,” telling the story of an ex moving on a little too quickly. “I love how brutal she is with her lyrics,” she says.
Throughout The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’s polished production, there’s a cohesive sound palette that taps into the nostalgia of ’90s R&B. “It’s definitely an album for album listeners,” Nesbitt says. “I’d like people to listen to the journey. I know that’s quite a tall ask in this day and age, but I wanted to make an album that made people feel something.”